Lorimer - At the heart of fostering

How do I become a Foster Carer?

Becoming a foster carer is a significant step in someone’s life and the decision to take that step does not happen overnight. It can be quite daunting making that first enquiry as you don’t quite know what to expect but it is our job to put you at ease and help you and your family make the right choices for you!

When you do choose to foster with Lorimer the journey becomes a joint learning process; one which you enjoy, discover new things and make new friends along the way!

Your journey will consist of the 7 stages we have listed below and, dependent on your circumstances, it will take between 4 to 6 months to become approved as a carer with Lorimer. This gives us lots of time to ensure you have all the information you need, for you to fully appreciate what fostering will mean for you and your family and for us to get to know you more so we can match you with the right foster child.

Initial Enquiry

If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer then there are various ways you can get in touch with us to make an online enquiry or call us on Freephone 0800 038 7799.

 

Chat to us

Once you have made your enquiry one of our team members will contact you to chat more about it. Here we will be able to answer any questions you may have and we can put your mind at ease so you can make an informed decision as to whether or not fostering is for you and your family. It is best to be upfront with us to avoid any confusion or delay later on in the assessment stage.

Happy to proceed? The home visit

If, once we have had a chat, you are happy that fostering is right for you then we will arrange to come and see you in the comfort of your own home. Whilst there, we will answer any more questions that you may have thought about since our chat and we will discuss what happens next into this process. We will also take this opportunity to gather some basic information about you and your family, such as where you have lived and a brief summary of your life experiences. The main aim is for us to get a good feel for you and your home environment and also to give you an idea of life as a foster carer and what you can expect.

Happy to proceed? Allocated a Social Worker and the Assessment Begins

If everything went well with your home visit and both parties are happy to proceed then you will be allocated a Social Worker who will start and complete your assessment to become a foster carer. They will visit your home as many times as is needed (usually this is around 8 to 10 times over a 3-4 month period) to gather as much information as you can remember about you and your family.

There are two stages to this process; the first being about gathering references, medical checks, police checks and general safety checks. The second stage involves more in-depth checks and discussions about your family history. At Lorimer we run both of these stages together so we do not delay the process for you.

All of this information is put together, with the information you gave at the initial home visit, and it forms what is known as a Form F Report. This report is to give people an insight to you and your family; there is no right or wrong way and no-one is here to judge as everyone has had different life experiences and that is what makes people great foster carers. This is your time also to ask lots of questions, the more the better!

Skills to Foster Course

Before you can be approved as foster carers and as part of your assessment you will need to attend what is known as a Skills to Foster course. This is a 3 ½ day training course (spread out over a couple of weeks) aimed to give you as much information about fostering as possible; what you can expect, what is expected of you, about our agency and the types of children/young people you will get, more of a preparation to fostering. Here you will also be with other people going through the same process so it gives you a chance to find out how others are getting on, it’s is designed to be very relaxed, informal and fun!

Panel Meeting

Once the Form F Report has been completed, you will sit down and go through it with your Social Worker to make sure you are happy with it and you will be invited to attend the next panel meeting. This is where your Form F will be discussed, with your Social Worker prior to you going in, then you will be invited in and asked a few simple questions about your Form F and a decision will be made as to whether or not you will become foster carers. It sounds very scary but it isn’t honestly, we are with you every step of the way and we will always try to put you at ease. Your Social Worker will be with you to give you any support you may need.

Approval

The panel members will make a recommendation about your approval to the Agency Decision Maker and it is their job to make the final decision!